Blog Tour: At Your Beck & Call by Jane Harvey-Berrick, Review + Teasers, Excerpt & Giveaway!


Release Date: May 30, 2014
At Your Beck & Call
by Jane Harvey-Berrick

5 stars

The very first thing I want to say about this book is this: I believe it is best savored slowly. It's not the type of book that you'll just have to consume in one sitting. It's not a bad thing too because the way it is written, the pacing of the book itself is rather like the smooth, slow flowing of water in a stream rather than the rushing rapids of a river leading to a waterfall. This was my mistake. I've been busy lately at work, so rush-read (and still am late… *sigh!*). Although I still found AT YOUR BECK & CALL really excellent, I thought I would have enjoyed it better if I took my time reading it.

Now on to the book! :) This gave me a new "first", and I'm not just talking about this being the first book I really read that has a much younger hero and older heroine. It's just that I felt like Hallen was my best friend! LOL You know that feeling when your friend opens up about a problem, and you listen attentively and want to pat their back while they tell you everything? That's how I felt for Hallen! He is just… kind of perfect, actually, but I didn't exactly swoon for him. I did care greatly for this character. Each time someone inadvertently insulted him, embarrassed him, made him feel tiny or rejected, I wanted to give him a tight hug and tell him it's going to be okay. The way he's written, you can't help but empathize with him and his experiences. 

Speaking of the way it's written, Jane Harvey-Berrick did a marvelous job, in my opinion! AT YOUR BECK & CALL felt like a diary. It is narrated through Hallen's POV. As he tells us how he became a professional escort, he shares stories of various women he's been with. There were many parts of his stories that made me LOL. Others made me feel sad for him and the women who hired him. I love that Jane Harvey-Berrick didn't make those women one-dimensional, clich├ęd, bitter cougars who are just out to get laid by a handsome young man. Each of them had a story, and I became equally interested in them as I was with Hallen and his future lady love.

One thing too: this book isn't a sexfest. Yes, the hero is an escort and he sleeps with most of his clients, but they are kind of glossed over. The little scenes that were actually described were done clinically. It is only when the heroine enters the story (and that's not until around 50%) that I started to see the passion in the love scenes and almost-love scenes.

The characters are extremely likable, which next to the writing style is what I love most about this book. I think the author has a flair for creating very likable characters! Eloise is lovely, quite the mother figure to Hallen even from the beginning. I even liked several of his previous clients. 

Now for Hallen. He is a doll, lol! A little too good to be true, but I'm not complaining. His brand of niceness is not cheesy nor did it feel too contrived. He just… is. He's a gentleman, very considerate of women even before his escort days. I like that he didn't turn out bitter in spite of his childhood, or too jaded about sex that he just objectified women. Although he recognized he is on the job and must please the client (and for some clients it became very necessary to keep reminding himself of that fact!), he was never disrespectful. Even in his thoughts, he'd just go something like, "this woman's a piece of work" or, "damn, that's going to leave marks..." I also love that he's an artist but doesn't behave like the typical "tortured artist" with a sad past or very emotive view of life.

Lastly, I really liked how the romance was developed. Like I said, there's more to each of the women Hallen has been with. They weren't made out to be horrible just for the sake of highlighting the significance of the heroine, or to reinforce the fact that she is different from the others. You get that impression by just observing Hallen's thoughts, words and actions. It's not love or lust at first sight even. Things just progressed naturally, and I really liked that.

I think  my favorite thing about the book, aside from Hallen of course, is that it tackled the issues that couples with large age differences face. Bad enough that some will be judgmental about a 20-year-gap, but it tends to be worse when it's the woman who's actually older, to be honest. They don't just face the judgment of society, but also the incredulity and often hostility of family and close friends. Hallen and the woman he falls in love with has to face that and learn to overcome all that.

AT YOUR BECK & CALL is a beautiful story: beautifully written, and with beautiful characters. If like me this will be the first time you'll read a love story with a 20-year-older heroine, you won't be disappointed. :) It shows how love should be celebrated and ought to be experienced by people of all ages.


Synopsis:

Hallen Jansen has it all. At 28, he has a flashy car, a great apartment, and a job he’s good at and that he loves – as an escort – working at your beck and call.

His life is easy, with no emotions or attachments slowing him down – choosing to keep moving, always running from the past. But when a new client awakens unfamiliar feelings, all bets are off. Can he convince a recently divorced woman twenty years older to trust men again – to trust him? Can Hallen trust himself not to screw things up?

Surrounded by people who choose to judge them, will they make their relationship a reality, or is it heartbreak for both?

Not all services are professional.



 "So, what other services do you offer, Hallen?"
          How many times had I been asked that question? How many times had I answered it?
          She laid her hand on my knee, her gaze sharp, questioning, lustful—and ashamed.
          The light was not kind to her, emphasizing hard lines around her mouth, the overly tight skin of her forehead.
          She should have chosen a bar with softer lighting. Candlelight hides a multitude of sins. Except my sins are all on the inside.
          When I'd arrived at the designated restaurant earlier in the evening, she'd been careful to conceal her age. Maybe she thought I'd care. I didn't. I gave my name to the hostess and asked her to let Ms. Mandelsohn know that I had arrived.
          It was always interesting meeting a new client—a challenge, too—getting to know her, putting her at ease, helping her to feel comfortable, working out what she wanted from a date. She needed to feel safe with me, like I'd take care of her in all senses of the words. And talking is underrated as a method of foreplay. Clients often said they felt like they'd known me for years. Well, they knew the part I showed them, which wasn't the same thing at all. But it was enough to let me fuck them.
          They didn't always want sex—or they said they didn't. Once they'd met me, they often changed their minds.

3 winners of $10 Amazon gift cards
5 ebooks and 3 signed copies of AT YOUR BECK & CALL (Open internationally!)


I started writing contemporary romance two years ago. Before that, I didn't think I could write a sex scene. Turns out I can! My lucky number is 13 because I was born on the 13th and live near a haunted castle by the ocean. My number one past-time is watching hot surfers get changed into (and out of) their wetsuits. My husband doesn't read my books. My mother does. Writing is my love, my hobby, my total addiction. All my characters are important to me and whisper their stories, even when I've finished writing their books. That's why you'll often find bonus chapters/out-takes from various books, because those voices just won't be quiet.
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2 comments:

  1. Great review!! But I might be just a little biased. I love Hallen and his story too much and I'll never tire of recommending At Your Beck & Call to everybody I know and their mothers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's not being biased, it's simply having good taste! ;) This is really a wonderfully-written story. I honestly didn't think I'd like it as much as I did :D

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